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Blade Runner DVD Blu Ray: The 3 Director’s Cut & Other Versions

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BLADE RUNNER is one of the greatest films ever made. It’s not to everyone’s taste but it’s what films should be – idiosyncratic and a personal vision from a director. Of course, it involves a great screenplay, great acting and engaging cinematography but ultimately, it’s the director’s imprint that makes it a classic. While nearly every movie that gets released today starts with A FILM BY as if to imply that “Norbit” is not just a product created when they realized they had a 3-week comedy gap in their spring schedule … Blade Runner is truly A FILM BY RIDLEY SCOTT.

And unlike a lot of other films that gets re-cut and the original buried, Warner Brothers and Ridley Scott have wisely made EVERY version available for us to view, to analysis and most importantly to appreciate as a viewer, as a film fan and as film geeks.

You can read this summation from the NY Times. (SPOILER ALERT).

It’s hard to believe it’s been 25 years but like most people, I missed it upon it’s initial release in 1982 but saw it upon its video release. I was mesmerized and thought it was one of the greatest movies ever – apparently, it received middling reviews upon its release but most people have come around to realize how layered and textured the film really is.

Because the movie tested poorly, they asked Ridley Scott to re-edit and add a voice-over narration much like Martin Sheen’s in “Apocalypse Now.” Ultimately, it also did not do too well in the theaters – original release date June 25, 1982 – grossing about $35 million dollars.

The first release was in VHS and was simply titled BLADE RUNNER.

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It was essentially the poster artwork other than the snipe at the bottom – and yes, this is from my collection as …

This THEATRICAL VERSION never had an official DVD release in the United States (see below).

Later, there was an extended cut release from the international version released on VHS but it was not vastly differently.

Though as the years moved along, it began to gather more and more acclaim and appreciation – soon becoming a cult classic.

In 1993, the DIRECTOR’S CUT version was released on VHS. This was a radically different version without the voice-over and covered in greater detail in the NY Times article.

When the DVD finally came, this was the version available, now called: BLADE RUNNER: THE DIRECTOR’S CUT.

Now for most movies, that would pretty much end there, the ‘studio” version and later, the director gets to go back and show us his original vision without the input of a mall preview audience who got $5 off at the Snack Shack to watch a movie and point out how they are smarter and more interesting than Ridley Scott …

Since, it’s the 25th anniversary, they decided to let Ridley Scott not only tighten it up a little more but refresh the special effects … so, coming in very limited release and on DVD in December, BLADE RUNNER: THE FINAL CUT.

To celebrate, WB is putting out a cottage industry of BLADE RUNNER:

Starting with:

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Blade Runner (Five-Disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition)

It features:

BLADE RUNNER: THEATRICAL (1982)
BLADE RUNNER: INTERNATIONAL THEATRICAL (1982)
BLADE RUNNER: DIRECTOR’S CUT (1993)
BLADE RUNNER: FINAL CUT (2007)
BLADE RUNNER: WORKPRINT EDITION (1982)

The last one is an oddball one for real, true film fan geeks, BLADE RUNNER: WORKPRINT EDITION is literally just that – so now you can really see the director’s vision and editing process change from the editing reels (as they did back in 1982) to a theatrical to a director’s cut … for the ultimate fan of BLADE RUNNER and films!

There are also a slew of featurettes and other items in the suitcase, click on the link to check it out AND the suitcase and all the special versions are also available in Blu Ray and HD DVD.

Okay, this might be a bit of a film overload for most people so you can also get the:

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Blade Runner (Four-Disc Collector’s Edition)

It features:

BLADE RUNNER: THEATRICAL (1982)
BLADE RUNNER: INTERNATIONAL THEATRICAL (1982)
BLADE RUNNER: DIRECTOR’S CUT (1993)
BLADE RUNNER: FINAL CUT (2007)

The main difference is you do not get BLADE RUNNER: WORKPRINT version in terms of film content – the difference is about $25 – you also do NOT get the briefcase plus the other items included:

“The Ultimate Collector’s Edition is packaged in a limited edition, numbered “Deckard” briefcase and features rare and collectable memorabilia such as a Spinner car replica, Unicorn figurine, Illustration and Photo cards, and a lenticular Motion Film Clip in lucite.”

But WB wants to cover all the entire possible market …

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So if you have the Director’s Cut DVD and just want BLADE RUNNER: THE FINAL CUT (2007) re-edit and refreshing of some special effects …and re-mastering of course, then you can just get this final version which also comes with a documentary on a 2nd disc.

BLADE RUNNER: DIRECTOR’S CUT (1993) is going out of print but you shouldn’t have any problems finding it separately.

You can still buy the used BLADE RUNNER: THEATRICAL on VHS but now that the DVD is coming out in the “briefcase” version, it’s less appealing …

But whatever version you see and now it’s even greater we get to see EVERY ONE of them, it’s truly is a FILM BY … and that Ridley Scott guy is also a pretty good TV advertising director, you might’ve seen his work with Apple?

[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=OYecfV3ubP8]

Great WIRED interview – transcript & podcast.

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30 September 2007 Design, Film, Marketing, Media, TV 4 Comments

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